REGIONAL NEWS: The US Naval ship, Woody Williams, that docked at Mombasa, Kenya last week, has a wide range of military capacities and is set to execute several missions.
The docking of the ship has created a mixture of excitement and tension in the region.
.“In this complex maritime environment, a ship like this enables options to project power with a persistent presence,” Vice Adm. Gene Black, U.S. 6th Fleet commander, said in a statement. “The ship is ideal for missions in this theater as it can readily integrate with the Marines and our allies and partners in many of our operations throughout the region at varying levels of complexity.”
The crew includes both civilian mariners and sailors aboard the ship and is the second in the Lewis B. Puller-class of expeditionary sea base vessels.
Woody Williams Blue Crew Commanding Officer Capt. David Gray said earlier as the ship left Naples in Italy for Mombasa that the crew was prepared to participate in a wide range of missions, including non-combatant evacuations and anti-piracy operations.
The ship has the capacity for four helicopters on its flight deck, can launch unmanned assets, and includes command and control systems.
While the Navy has a more limited presence in AFRICOM compared to the other combatant commands, Gray said ahead of the deployment that Woody Williams’ presence in the region can help other naval assets like amphibious ships or destroyers focus on higher-end operations.
“We’ve already got a great mission set setup, where we’re going, what we’re going to do and who we’re going to work with. And I tell you, it’s going to be very exciting,” Gray was quoted as saying by the the US Naval Institute (USNI).